Nigeria’s Vice President (VP), Namadi Sambo has said that the Federal Government spends about 100 billion naira annually on educational projects across the Nigerian Universities.
The VP, at a foundation laying ceremony of Dame Patience Jonathan’s 360 beds female hostel block, and the Modern International Conference Center of the Bayero University, Kano, said 1.5 trillion naira from the Presidential Support Fund on education has already been approved to cater for the needs of Nigerian Universities and other tertiary institutions.
Vice President, Namadi Sambo who said courtesy of their administration’s transformational agenda, ”projects like this will continue to full all the Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions”.
In an interactive session with members of the University Community, the VP said, in order to realise the Nigeria’s vision 2020, the Federal Government has paid special attention to the education sector, through the award of various projects costing billions of naira.
Meanwhile, the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Abubakar Rasheed told the Vice President that the university had in the last four years been repositioned from an art based, to a science based university, with the introduction of about 40 new departments and research centers.
The VP was accompanied by the Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau and Minister for Special Duty, Tanimu Turaki.
An advocate of the Centre For Citizens with Disabilities, David Anyaele, has lashed out at the Goodluck Jonathan administration for not reaching out to Nigerians with disabilities through the ‘Transformation Agenda’.
While advocating for the rights of socio-cultural and political inclusion of persons with disabilities on the 2014 edition of the International Day for the Disabled on Sunrise Daily, Anayele argued that “if you watch President Goodluck Jonathan’s utterances, either in private or public discussions, he hardly mentions people with disabilities,” Anayaele said.
He further noted that the impact of President Goodluck Jonathan’s ‘Tranformation Agenda” was not being felt by by people with diabilities.
He noted that many countries all over the world are measuring their ability to attend to the needs of people with disabilities in their country but noted that Nigeria is yet to have a law criminalising the discrimination against such people.
He disclosed that the National Assembly has passed, harmonised and adopted the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Bill, further commending Senate President, David Mark and House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal for their support.
However, he berated the Executive arm of government for “paying lip service to issues of disability”.
Anyaele noted that the bill is currently undergoing ‘cleansing’ for transmission to President Goodluck Jonathan but urged the Clerk of the National Assembly to ensure that the bill is passed to the President, for ascent.
“I’m still surprised why this process will take us such a long time”, he said, arguing that the cleansing was still on since October 15, when the National Assembly had adopted the harmonised version of the bill.
“That is why I’m pleading to the Clerk of the National Assembly to look at the more than 22 million Nigerians living with disabilities, whose future depends on the passage of this bill.
Anyaele further stressed the importance of the bill, noting that the issue of discrimination against people with disabilities will come to an end, as the bill criminalises discrimination on the grounds of disability.
“That bill makes provision for right to education, right to health services” as well as criminalises exclusion of people with disabilities from cultural, social and political life.
President Goodluck Jonathan has been honoured by the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, in recognition of equitably handling the resources of Nigeria and for excellence in Christian stewardship.
The conferment of the Primatial Award was made on Tuesday when a group of the church members led by the head of the church, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of all Nigeria, the Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh visited the President.
After receiving the award, President Jonathan reiterated his administration’s commitment to improving the quality of lives of Nigerians, but pointed out that the transformation would not happen overnight.
President Jonathan said that the government was progressing in the right direction with attention to those critical areas that would improve the economy, promising to do his best.
“We have laid the foundations and we are putting everything in place to ensure the transformation of Nigeria,” he said.
The church delegation prayed that God would continue to show his mercy on him as well as let His light shine on Nigerians.
The Primate of the Anglican Communion took time out to administer all the paraphernalia that goes with the awards.
He also presented the president with the Holy book and spoke on the reason for the awards.
The Federal Government says that Nigeria has maintained its position as the preferred destination for investment in the world, despite security challenges.
Vice President Namadi Sambo said this at the opening ceremony of the 16th edition of the Honorary International Investors’ Council, taking place in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He pledged the commitment of the Jonathan administration to ensure the security of lives and property of Nigerians and all those who live in the country, giving assurances that security forces were confronting the situation and would remain unyielding in the effort to rid Nigeria of the evil that has threatened its development.
It was their first meeting since the rebasing of the Nigerian economy, Vice President Namadi Sambo, representing President Jonathan, reviewed what has happened so far despite the challenges of insecurity in the country.
He said that the transformation agenda of the administration was on course despite the distractions, promising that Government would take all necessary steps to enhance security as well as competitiveness of Nigerian enterprises.
The Coordinator of the council, Baroness Lynda Chalker, however, stated that she was worried that education in Nigeria was still at a very low level and that everybody present in the room would give suggestions as to how to make power and education to work in the country.
The Federal Government has expressed optimism that the outcome of the 16th edition of the council meeting and the suggestions from all present would increase investment drive and efforts to make Nigeria remain globally competitive.
President Goodluck Jonathan has once more called on Nigerians to shun religious differences and join his administration in the fight against insurgency and constant attacks by the Boko Haram.
At the 2014 Presidential National Prayer and Breakfast programme held at the Presidential Villa on Saturday, President Jonathan also asked all Nigerians to pray for the souls of those that had been killed in various attacks in Nigeria and their families, promising that all those who took part in the attacks “will surely pay” for it.
It was the 4th session of the prayer and breakfast meeting that is usually held after the Lent period and the Easter celebration. It brings together Nigerian Christians from all denominations with the aim of praying for the country, expressing their faith in God.
“No matter the situation and circumstances, our faith is built on solid ground,” is the hope that they profess.
The only lesson of the day, taken from the book of Luke 13, was read by the first lady, Mrs patience Jonathan.
There were prayers for the nation, the President and other leaders and for all those who lost their lives in all the attacks of the Boko Haram sect.
The prayer was that God would look down from heaven and intervene in the affairs of the nation.
Call For Increased Vigilance
Prayers were also said for the forgiveness of sins, especially for a change of heart by those behind the terror attacks in the land.
Even visitors recognised the fact that Nigeria needed peace now more than ever before.
The Director of the National Institute of Transformation, Professor Vincent Anigbogu, came with very inspiring words for the President and concerned Nigerians.
President Goodluck Jonathan prayed for the repose of the souls of the departed, promising that all those who take part in the attacks that had claimed the lives of innocent citizens must pay for it.
He thanked Nigerians for standing for justice and called for divine wisdom and increased vigilance, reassuring Nigerians that “no criminal enemies would derail the vision to transform Nigeria and bring it at per or even better than most developed nations”.
President Jonathan urged Nigerians not to relent in their support for his administration, emphasising that it has given him the courage to work for the good of all.
He also pointed out that “the quest for peace, development and justice must be achieved from a common front regardless of one’s religion and ethnic background”.
The Nigerian Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, on Wednesday blamed the low power supply being experienced across the country on sabotage.
In an update on the state of power supply, Professor Nebo explained that the damage of gas pipelines at several locations in the country had led to shutdown of over 2,000 megawatts of electricity.
He said that the loss of transmission lines and low availability of water at the dams had also affected power supply adversely.
Low Water Level
“The recent dip in power supply is mainly due to inadequate supply of gas to the thermal gas power plant arising from the current act of vandalism on gas pipelines. Trans Forcados pipeline is currently out and this is another 200 million scuffs of gas resulting to loss of 800 megawatts of power supply.
“There have been an attack on the trans-Niger line with a loss of 120 million standard cubic feet of gas and a loss of about 500 megawatts from the Akpan-six IPP, which is supposed to be delivering about 600 megawatts.
“The dams are low in water level. We have issues with Kanji, Jebba and Shiroro dams, which will be redressed as water level improves. We need rain,” Professor Nebo said.
The Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said that the government had earmarked one billion dollars for the implementation of a comprehensive programme to check crude oil theft, the vandalism of oil and gas infrastructure and the apprehension and prosecution of crude oil thieves
At separate meetings with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mr Mark Rutte and the Chief Executive Officer of Shell International, Mr Ben Van Beurden, President Jonathan said that a technical committee had already been set up to look into all aspects of the implementation of the programme.
The fund is expected to help end pipeline vandalism in Nigeria, as the government pursue complete privatisation of the power sector.
The Nigerian government handed over ownership of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to private companies on November 1, withVice President Namadi Sambo, expressing hopes that Nigerians will begin to reap the fruits of the privatisation process.
Some Nigerians have said that power supply had dropped after the privatisation of the power sector.
But the government had earlier described the situation as part of the teething problems that users were bound to face after the unbundling of the PHCN, promising that the situation would improve within six months.
Nigerians are anxiously waiting for stable power supply that the new owners had promised.
As part of efforts to ensure effective service delivery, the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company has launched a third party digitalised vending system which is aimed at measuring the quantum of electricity given to its customers.
At the official launch of the third party commercial vending scheme and CAPMI meters project on Friday, Managing Director of Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company, Idris Mohammed said that the essence was to ensure accurate billing to the customers.
Mohammed also said the new scheme would facilitate good service delivery and ensure that bills are paid for as and when due and within the customers’ domain.
According to him, various accredited investment companies would provide the recharge card will be denominated at the range of 1,000 Naira up to 5,000 naira.
He explained that the scheme would involve all categories of customers using pre-paid meters, adding that recharge cards would be made available to all parts of the zone just the same way GSM subscribers purchase their airtime.
He further stated that the company is finalising arrangements to also provide online payment options in order to simplify payment procedures and will also need additional 175 megawatts of energy to enable it provide 24 hours power supply to its customers in Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi states.
The digitalised vending system of payment involves the use of mobile phones by electricity consumers to pay their bills.
An Economist, Dr Abiodun Adedipe, on Saturday said that the controversial suspension of the CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, is “a very critical issue for our economy” stressing that the manner in which the act was carried out will affect the economy and that the Federal Government’ s claim that it wouldn’t is merely a ‘political statement.’
Speaking on Sunrise (Saturday), Dr Adedipe said “Immediately that pronouncement was made, the exchange rate market began to react. Also the stock market started to react,” maintaining that macroeconomic indices began to move in adverse directions.
According to him “the major issue is new capital formation “which is simply new investment.” He added that “any investor, whether domestic or foreign, will naturally look at the development and say it is not the time for me to put in fresh money.”
“Ultimately, if we get back on track, that little space of time where we lost momentum willensure that the prospect for growth that the economy had at the beginning of the year will certainly fall short by the end of the year.”
He stressed that the position of the CBN Governor is very key to the financial industry and the national economy hence comments made by the person in the position are important and are key indicators of the direction of policy and response of the system to developments in the economic space.
“Whatever actions are taken or utterance made by such a person is a reflection of the data and information available to him.
The way the government deals with whoever is in that position becomes important and that is why in my opinion, the government has not handled it in a way that will help this economy.”
While speaking on the programme, Social Commentator, Biodun Sowunmi, said that, that the suspended CBN governor erred “may not necessarily be in doubt”
“The fact of the matter is that there are so many allegations made against Sanusi. Whether they are right or not, we don’t know because it has not been investigated.
However, “where people have problems now is not whether there are no issues, indictments against Sanusi. They are mere allegations which have not been investigated. The real issue is whether the president has the powers under the law to suspend Sanusi.”
He stressed that the president has a right to appoint, nominate while the Senate confirms. “That means the President is sharing that authority with Senate and when it comes to the issue of removal, it’s only under section 1F that made an explicit provision that you can only remove the governor of Central Bank if for instance the President recommends the removal and is backed by two-thirds of the Senate.”
He continued by saying “interestingly, there’s only one aspect of section 11 that made reference to removal. The section relating to that is section 11(1)(D), you can only be suspended from office if the professional body that he belongs to finds him guilty of one thing or the other.
“There’s no provision for suspension, there’s only provision for removal and you can only suspend somebody if he has been found guilty by his professional body. That is not the case.”
He attributed the suspension to the president’s desire to accelerate his transformation agenda.
Discussions on the needed input from the government, financial institutions, power generating and distributing companies and other stakeholders to ensure power stability in Nigeria have topped talks in the Power Sector and Infrastructure Financing Conference holding at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The conference that opened on Monday and drew together over 1,000 investors is coming after the handing over of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria to private owners, a process that has been described as one of the most transparent privatisation programmes in the history of the country and in West Africa.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Namadi Sambo, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan, told the participants that power stability was a sacred promise the government made to Nigerians.
He called for concerted efforts from the stakeholders to ensure that the promise was accomplished by the end of June, as stability of power was imperative for the nation’s development.
“This gathering is an indication of the confidence that the government has in the private sector,” he said.
Time To Invest In Power
The Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, pointed out that the conference was organised to facilitate interaction between new investors and financial institutions in Nigeria and to meet the financing requirements of the Nigerian power sector that is actually having at the moment a huge appetite for investment.
“It will also spur the creation of a sound financing framework that will enhance performance across the power sector value chain. It will provide an enabling environment for potential investors in the power sector and provide opportunity for clarifying government policies for the power sector in order to facilitate financial investment in the sector.
“Even if we are to quadruple our current generation capacity, it will not be enough to meet the demand. It is time to invest in power,” he said.
The Minister explained that the transition from a vertically inclined government monopoly to a structured and regulated private sector dominated market was still ongoing.
“The market is governed by contracts regulations and codes. It is a market where obligations are honoured, where disputes are resolved in a pre-agreed and transparent way,” he stressed.
An Economy To Reckon With
The Nigerian Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, gave a background of the economic growth and assured participants that the returns in 2014 would be greater than that of 2013, a forecast that they should take advantage of.
“The administration has prioritised the power sector.
“Our prospects in 2014 may be higher than expected due to recoveries in advanced countries that are Nigeria’s trading partners.
“We have to look inwards and work on every major sectorial reform that will position the country to do the fundamental things of growing jobs and tackling social exclusion.
“Economic fundamental remains strong with a GDP growth of 6.81 per cent in the third quarter of 2013. The growth is sustained by the non-oil sector which recorded 7.9 per cent growth in the third quarter of last year.
“Projection of the economy by the IMF in 2014 is 7.4 per cent, one of the highest growth rates around world for 2014.
“Nigeria is an economy to reckon with,” she said
The minister, however, pointed out that Nigeria needed about $14.2 billion annually to bridge the infrastructure gap and urged the participants to look in that direction and make necessary contributions.
About 308 participants drawn from all walks of life are participating in the power sector investors’ forum. They hope to come up with a professional, well-articulated master plan that can give Nigerians steady power supply, an era Nigerians are very anxious to receive.
Some of the participants that spoke with Channels Television expressed readiness to deliver the needed stable power if the government would keep to its promise of providing an enabling environment.
It is not going to be like a hundred meter dash but at the long run privatisation of the power sector is the best thing to happen to Nigeria
The Nigerian Vice President, Namadi Sambo, has called on the new owners of power companies to redouble efforts to ensure that visible and appreciable results are seen before the middle of the year.
“It is a sacred promise made to Nigerians and the government cannot deliver less. It is a task that must be done,” he said
At the opening of the Power Sector and Infrastructure Financing Conference holding in Abuja on Monday, the vice president stressed the need for the companies to provide Nigerians with stable power supply, a development, he said, would improve Nigerians’ standard of living.
“The Power sector is very critical to the attainment of our national development goals.
“Our commitment to the principle of greater service delivery in this sector remains strong and unshakable, giving its strategic importance to the development of our country,” he said.
Mr Sambo pointed out that the capital electricity generation in Nigeria was still low and could not propel the nation towards the realisation of its national development target.
“We must fundamentally reorganise the power sector to improve performance as well as increase our generation capacity to meet both industrial and domestic needs of our nation. The reform will conceptualise as one of the drivers of our transformation agenda and the cornerstone of our overall national development plan,” he said.
Capital For Infrastructural Development
The Nigerian government had in November 1 privatised the legacy generation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.
The vice president stated that the process was a demonstration of the government’s resolve to effectively address the challenges facing the power sector in Nigeria.
“The first phase of the privatisation efforts has been concluded. The 10 National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), with an estimated output of 4,700 megawatts, which had been under construction, had substantially been completed. The process towards the privatisation would be completed by December 2014,” he reiterated.
The addition of the 4, 700 megawatts is expected to speed up the development of the nation’s economy and contribute massively in Nigeria’s industrialisation, provide higher GDP, youth employment, improve the standard of living and provide social security for Nigerians.
The government has emphasised that the private sector was in a better position to effectively mobilise and manage the huge capital required for constant and affordable power supply to all Nigerians.
Sambo, again, expressed strong and firm confidence in the Nigerian private sector.
“The creativity and patriotism of our business community has kept all sectors of our economy strong.
“We will continue to promote the private sector as a critical component or our country’s economic development agenda.
Giving highlights of the nation’s plan ahead of 2045, Mr Sambo explained that under the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, substantial amounts were required for infrastructural development efforts in the next 30 years, covering 2014 to 2045.
According to him, the energy sector alone needs an infusion of about $900 billion.
During this period a significant percentage is expected to come from the private sector.
“Transmission grid requires $1.5 billion dollars annually for the next five years to ensure reliability and stability.
“The government is undertaking new investment in solar wind and hydro power plant to ensure that the target is met.
He expressed hope that the conference, which has in attendance, experts in the power sector, investors and chief executives of leading local and international financial institutions amongst others, would come up with practicable funding strategies for the power sector and device strategies to unlock the much needed capital for other infrastructural development.
Some indigenes of Bayelsa State have commended Vice-President Namadi Sambo for what they called his total and unwavering support and loyalty to President Goodluck Jonathan.
The group was at the State House in Abuja on a courtesy visit to the Vice-President.
Explaining why they were at the State House, the Bayelsa State Governor, who was also the leader of the delegation, Seriake Dickson, said that it was to express the appreciation of the people of his state to the Vice-President for his commitment, dedication and loyalty to the President.
On his part, the Vice-President noted that the confidence he receives from the President, spurs him to do even more.
While speaking about several projects of the administration which the Bayelsa people would benefit from, he promised the group that he would continue to give support and loyalty to the President.
“I want to assure you, I will personally continue to give my support and loyalty to Mister President. I want to assure you we will not allow anything to detract us.
“The transformation agenda of Mr President is going well on track and we are happy to know that today we have achieved a lot within this short period of just over 2 years. We have achieved what several administrations were not able to achieve.”
President Goodluck Jonathan is from the Ijaw ethnic group of Bayelsa State.
The Head of Media, office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Public Affairs Department in the Presidency, Bamidele Salam, on Thursday said the Federal Government’s new security architecture will ensure better security for the citizens in 2014.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, he stated that the containment of Boko Haram insurgency will continue in the new year as in the 2014 budget, which is currently before the National Assembly for approval, “there is adequate provision of a sum of 700 billion naira on security which is meant to equip the security agencies and make them more proactive in detecting most of these crimes before they are hatched.”
He added that the “Government is also very committed to strengthening the new security architecture which the FG has developed to make our security agencies more proactive, provide better equipment for the security agencies and also involve the communities in partnership with the security agencies.”
“I’m very certain that the security situation as it has to do with the battle against insurgency will be vigorously pursed (like Mr President said in his new year message) while other cases of insecurity like the occasional attacks in Jos as well as incidents of kidnapping in the South East of the country, will be effectively tackled with the new security architecture the Federal government developed in the out-gone year.”
As if the Federal Government’s plan also carters for the Police Force, Mr Salam said although there was no significant drop in terms of insecurity incidents as presented by the Police Force in 2013, the force is also proactive in its mandate. “The authority of the Nigeria Police is also being more proactive than it had ever been.” Salam also mentioned an indication of the pro-activity which was the IGP’s presentation of his scorecard last year.
He further stated that the “New Security Architecture is not restricted to the military and the DSS” as the police is “more fundamental.” He also expressed hope that the culture of accountability will be replicated by other top police officers in the hierarchy.
Speaking on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, he praised the Goodluck Jonathan administration for breaking a 35 year long jinx by commissioning the 106 km long road for expansion, remodeling and reconstruction in 2013.
He stressed that the Lagos-Ibadan expressway was constructed between 1974 and 1978 but between 1978 and 2013, “there was no major action carried out on that road” until the Jonathan’s administration broke the jinx by commissioning the road to contractors, Julius Berger and RCC.
He addressed concerns regarding a huge sum of 167 billion naira budgeted for the construction of works on the road. “The Federal Government under President Goodluck Jonathan doesn’t embark on any project without following the due processes.” He also noted that the quality of work to be done on the road will justify the amount spent as additions, such as a flyover (to be constructed at the interchange close to the Redeem Camp), re-construction of bridges and extra lanes are also part of the construction work.
“There is an arrangement with the Nigeria Infrastructural Bank, so that we will not have the usual delays you have occasioned by bureaucracy, lack of enough budgetary provisions and other technical problems.” He added that the timeline set for the project, 48 months, will surely be met.
He also stated that since the funding of the project is “not strictly tied to the budget” citizens should expect to pay tolls upon its completion.
“The amount spent on the road will eventually be justified by the quality of the road that will be delivered to Nigerians,” he added.